Aqueous storage draft ordinance recommended for official withdrawal
March 5, 2020
The Haines Borough Government Affairs and Services Committee recommended the assembly withdraw from consideration six pending ordinances introduced from 2015-2019.
Among those recommended for withdrawal include a draft ordinance from 2019 which attempted to prohibit storage of liquid hazardous materials within one mile of “any surface body of water.”
Alekka Fullerton, borough clerk, described it as a housekeeping issue. “There are several pending Ordinances that have been introduced to the Assembly but have been, seemingly, abandoned,” Fullerton wrote in her clerk’s report. “The Clerk’s office would like to ‘clean up’ the record of pending ordinances.”
In April of 2019, previous assembly member Will Prisciandaro introduced the aqueous storage ordinance, which sparked a packed house during assembly meetings. Passionate testimony of both support and opposition dominated the controversial issue. Supporters cited the importance of clean water in the Chilkat Valley, while critics said that the draft ordinance unfairly targeted already heavily regulated mining activities.
In July 2019, the ordinance was dropped when it was discovered that state and federal code exempts “waste rock from a mining operation” from the definition of hazardous materials.
Discussion was limited during the committee meeting. “People cared a lot about the issue, but not about the ordinance itself,” Fullerton said in a separate interview.
“It’s dead,” Fullerton said. “I think the ordinance was flawed. It was rushed and was not a good process. If this is what we want to do, let’s do it right.”